Tag Archives: HPV

HPV news… prevention works (Article)

The HPV vaccine has gained much attention in recent news, but there are many questions as to what it actually does and if it actually works. Experts at the CDC are now recommending that all children get vaccinated with the HPV vaccine long before they are sexually active.  I hear many parents question the wisdom of this vaccine until they understand how deadly HPV viruses can be. HPV, or human papilloma virus, is the most common STD in America. The infections affect people of all ages: teenage girls, boys, men, women, and even babies.  Fourteen million people become infected with HPV each year and are therefore put at greater risk for cervical cancer and head and neck cancers. Though every year, 19,000 women develop cervical cancer, and 8,000 men develop penile or head and neck cancers that are directly linked to the HPVs, many parents do not fully recognize the real danger of HPV infections.

The first HPV vaccine was approved for use in girls and young women in 2007 and recent data indicate its value.  Statistics gathered by the CDC shows that the HPV vaccine is incredibly effective, and therefore invaluable to protect our teenagers’ current and future health. Among girls ages 14 through 19 who were studied, the HPV infection rate has dropped by 56% in the past four years, even while vaccine rates are low. In the CDC sample population studied, just 5.1% of teenage girls became infected, compared to a pre vaccine rate of 11.5%. Imagine how low infection rates will be when far more children are vaccinated! If your teen hasn’t been vaccinated already, please don’t wait. The HPV vaccine has proven to be safe and effective defense against HPV. The inconvenience of simply getting a few injections is nothing in comparison to the devastating consequences of cancer.

Parents need to keep in mind that the HPV vaccine is a powerful tool to prevent cancers but only works if it is given before a person is infected, hence the young recommended age.  Remember this Doc Smo pearl: “Prevention trumps treatment, every time.”  Lets pass on a HPV free world to the next generation in the same way we were given a world without smallpox.  I hope you agree that a few shots is a small price to pay to avoid all that future pain and suffering.

Smo Notes:

  1. http://www.pediatricnews.com/news/infectious-diseases/single-article/cdc-study-finds-56-drop-in-hpv-infections/ad015e9f23f95a9ec437f9ee17cc0de1.html

Written collaboratively by Keri Register and Paul Smolen MD

Newborn male circumcision news 2012 (Pedcast)


Thank you for joining me today.  This is your pedcast host, Dr. Paul Smolen, also known as Doc Smo.  I started this blog for the benefit of my patients …to extend conversations that the office setting just can’t happen due to time constraints. No topic is off the table here which is one of the thing that makes it so much fun to make these posts.  From diapers to the diploma as I like to say.  Today I want to make my listeners aware of the new  Academy of Pediatrics policy statement on newborn circumcision.  I plan to wade deep, deep into the diapers today. The AAP’s last word on the subject of male circumcision was in 1999, over a decade ago.  Boy, what a difference a decade can make.  The pendulum has swung quite a bit since they last weighed in on the subject.  So lets get right into it, shall we?



First for the basic facts.  A circumcision refers to the surgical removal of about ½ inch of redundant skin that covers the end of the penis in newborn male children. The various procedures that accomplish the removal of this skin are fairly easy to do and rarely lead to complications: the main ones being bleeding or infection.  As I say, these problems are very rare. The small cut heals very quickly, usually in a week.  Babies often sleep during the procedure because a local anesthetic that is used.  The major benefits of circumcision are reducing the chance of a male infant developing a urinary tract infection during the first year of life, eliminating the possibility of getting an infection of the foreskin called balantitis, and reducing the chance that this circumcised child will acquire or pass on the HIV or HPV viruses, or other sexually transmitted diseases when they are older.


Now the cons:  opponents argue that doing a circumcision on  male infants is cruel and mutilating which has become the basis of the great debate about circumcision in Germany going on right now. Opponents also argue that the child doesn’t get to decide whether he wants this done, does he?  They also point out that there are sometimes problems with bleeding and infection when skin is cut not to mention surgical accidents that could occur that can be extremely damaging to a child.   And what about pain and suffering… no matter how good the anesthetic is, it will wear off and there will inevitably be some pain somewhere along the way.


So now back to the AAP’s recent policy statement.  The authors of this statement are doctors who are experts in many aspects of pediatric medicine.  This task force reviewed all the recent evidence pro and con with regards to circumcision and concluded that the benefits (already enumerated) of male circumcision justify the small risks and downsides of the procedure. As I said, this is different than a similar AAP Task Force concluded in 1999.  You can imagine that their statement has reignited the great circumcision debate!  Emotions run high on both sides and parents ultimately will need to decide this one for themselves.  It’s a close call and lots of factors need to be considered.  There is no right or wrong answer and parents need to understand this as they weigh the pros and cons.  I encourage you to talk to your child’s pediatrician for guidance… they are usually very knowledgeable on the subject.


Again, thanks for joining me.  I feel certain that some comments are coming into the blog on this post… if you want to be heard, log onto www.docsmo.com and send your thoughts.  We would love to hear your point of view.

This is Dr. Paul Smolen, recording in studio 1E, hoping you score a win, with your decision about your baby’s foreskin.


Until next time.


Smo Notes:


1. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/22/world/europe/germany-explores-legal-protection-for-circumcision.html?_r=0




HPV Vaccines: “Prevention Trumps Treatment” (Pedcast)


-Your host here, Dr Paul Smolen, here to continue your free pediatric education with information parents can use from gestation to graduation.
-What I like about pediatrics is that it is a preventative specialty.
-It is much easier to prevent an illness than treat one, especially cancer.
-You heard me right, cancer.
-I remember the microbiology lecture in med school where the Professor said emphatically, “No human cancers are caused by viruses”
-What a frightening thought… a virus that you could catch that might give you cancer, spread around like the common cold!
-Time has proven that this statement was wrong, wrong, wrong…there are actually many viruses that are known about that can cause cancer which is our topic of discussion today.
-So sit back and turn up the volume so you don’t miss any of today’s, DocSmo.com

Cancer seems to be a genetic disease. It is the genes in the cell that control all aspects of a cell’s function… including its rate of reproduction.
-Sometimes when things go bad, the genes that say to the cell, divide and grow, are stuck in the on position, leading to uncontrolled growth. These out of control dividing cells are called cancer cells.
-They just can’t stop dividing and multiplying. They begin to crowd out all of their neighbors and eventually spread beyond the tumor.
-So how do these bad genes get into cells? Good question.
-We know that carcinogens such as chemicals and radiation, can damage our genes but how about if the genes are inserted into our chromosomes when we get a viral infection?
-Interesting possibility

-The answer turns out to be a big yes.
-Here are the viral infections that we know of today that can directly or indirectly cause cancer:
Hepatitis B and C
Epstein Barr virus that causes mononucleosis
And finally, a group of viruses called HPV viruses
-If you have children who you have been dragging to the pediatrician, you will recognize a few of these infections as vaccines that are recommended at their visits… the Hepatitis B vaccine that is recommended to be given to newborns and the HPV vaccines recommended for preteens.
-These two vaccines are both safe and extremely effective. If every child were to be vaccinated at the appropriate time with these vaccines, it is thought by experts that essentially all liver cancer caused by Hep B would be eliminated and 70% of abnormal pap smears and cervical cancers caused by HPV wouldn’t happen.
-Remember this DocSmo pearl, “Prevention trumps treatment”.

-In my November 2011 Pediatrics journal, there is an article looking at the HPV vaccine rates for girls 13-17, during the 2008-9 in the US.… at that time, only about 20% of these girls had completed the HPV series of 3 shots. Hopefully we are doing better now.
-In Australia of all places, the government has made a big effort to vaccinate all of their teen girls.
-And it is working. Recent evidence, just a few years after they started making the HPV shots a priority, found that rates of very abnormal PAP smears ( early cervical cancers) have fallen dramatically, by 38% in just a few years.
-The Australians are going to reap tremendous benefits from their efforts to vaccinate because far fewer of their children are going to get cervical cancer. remember, “Prevention trumps treatment”.
-You may be aware that in October of 2011, the Center for Disease control is now recommending HPV vaccines for the boys… this is going to hopefully hasten the day when these cancer viruses disappear altogether. We’ve done it before… anyone seen a case of polio or smallpox recently?

-So the next time your pediatrician suggests one of those shots be given to your son or daughter, even if they squawk, even if frightens you or them, even if it is expensive, even if you would rather get home sooner and not wait for the nurse to get the shot….do it.
-You will be glad you did.
-The “experts” seem to almost always be right when it comes to infectious disease recommendations. They have a great track record so when they do something, I listen, and you should too.

-That wraps up our discussion today. I hope you found it informative and relevant.

-The pediatric blog known as DocSmo.com is beginning to catch on and you can help.
-If you like what you hear, go ahead and write a review on iTunes and subscribe to the fresh new content I put on weekly. Like us on Face book, or follow us on twitter.
-As always, your comments are welcome and I will try and respond personally
-This is Dr Paul Smolen, your pedcast host, broadcasting from Studio 1E, hoping you won’t hesitate to take your little tot for their next shot.

Until Next time

Smo Notes